Dodgers @ Phillies June 9, 2023: Dodgers turn to an opener for the first time this season to open the series in Philly

The Dodgers got a stopper performance from Clayton Kershaw last night, as tossed seven scoreless innings to prevent a bad sweep in Cincinnati. The offense did their job, scoring six runs in two of the three games and eight in the opener. However, the starters outside of Kershaw struggled and the bullpen reverted back to bad ways as they allowed 17 runs in the first two games, a pair of walk-off losses.

They salvaged the finale and turn the page to a Philadelphia team that has underperformed this season. They’re 30-32, and after losing five straight games have now won five straight (against the Nationals and Tigers, to be fair). The two teams met in early May and the Dodgers looked to be at their best, as they scored 36 runs in the three games and in their lowest scoring game, got a walk-off grand slam by Max Muncy to close out the sweep in a 10-6 win.

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4:05 PM Philadelphia
RF Betts LF Schwarber (L)
1B Freeman (L) RF Castellanos
C Smith DH Harper (L)
DH Martinez SS Turner
3B Muncy (L) C Realmuto
LF Taylor 2B Stott (L)
2B Vargas CF Marsh (L)
CF DeLuca 1B Clemens (L)
SS Rojas 3B Sosa
P Gonzalez (L) P Suarez (L)

Lessons in never pre-writing your thread today, as Victor Gonzalez serves as the opener. Gonzalez will get the first crack at the two most dangerous lefties in Philly’s lineup in Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper. When he’s out, Michael Grove will serve as the bulk role.

Grove made his return off the IL last Saturday and allowed four runs on four hits in five innings, which isn’t all that great. All the runs came on a pair of homers by Jake Bauers, who is not a member of the Phillies (this bodes well for today). Most impressively, Grove tallied 13 swinging strikes (a career-high) and posted his highest average fastball velocity (96.4 MPH), touching 97-98 a few times. While the run prevention wasn’t quite there, there were positives to take away from a game against a tough Yankee lineup. Noah Syndergaard‘s totally legit IL placement probably buys Grove some security in the rotation with Julio Urias slated to return this weekend, and he’ll have a chance to further prove he belongs today.

Ranger Suarez starts today in his sixth outing since returning from the IL. Suarez was slated to participate in the World Baseball Classic with Venezuela, but an elbow strain kept him out of that and on the IL until mid-May. He had a rough return from the IL, as he allowed 12 runs in 11 innings over his first three starts. His 3.46 FIP indicated a bit bad luck (a .444 BABIP also indicated that), and things have gone better in his last two outings. He’s thrown 13 2/3 innings in his last two starts and allowed 13 hits and three runs against the Mets and Nationals. He doesn’t strike out a ton of people (20 in 24 2/3 innings). It wasn’t all bad luck however, as he’s got one of the highest xBA’s against in baseball (.308) and Baseball Savant has him running a 37 percent hard-hit rate.

Suarez is primarily a sinkerballer, throwing it 30.3 percent of the time this season (40.2 percent last season). He throws a changeup, cutter and four seamer as well. So far, his best pitch has been his curve. He’s thrown 82 of them this year and allowed two singles, with a 35 percent whiff rate and nine of his 20 strikeouts have ended with a curve.

Jonny DeLuca gets his second start against a lefty. Miguel Rojas returns after leaving Wednesday’s game with neck tightness.


So … about Urias returning this weekend.

Urias threw a bullpen yesterday and came out of it feeling some hamstring discomfort. He’ll continue to throw but will stick with flatground throwing for now and won’t throw off a mound until next week at the earliest.

Sunday will be a bullpen game for the Dodgers, who might run with a four-man rotation for the time being. Gavin Stone will not be brought up this turn, and the Dodgers have the next three Mondays off (as well as a Thursday the week after next).


First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.